Wednesday, 1 November 2017

^^ Us, after learning our ranking went down on the World Bank’s Doing Business report


What We’re Tracking Today

Economic conditions are much better today than in 2010, CBE Governor Tarek Amer said yesterday. Addressing a gathering organized by the Canadian-Egyptian Business Council, Amer spoke about how the impact of the economic reform agenda is beginning to show, especially within the banking sector. Egyptians have dumped bns of greenbacks into the banking system since the float, he said, and economic indicators suggest inflation levels will cool over the coming months, as the government moves towards its target of slashing them by 50% in the next fiscal year. Tourism revenues for the first quarter of FY2017-18 are also expected to come in higher than previous years, Amer added.

McKinsey’s 500 senior partners are gathering in London to choose a new leader for the global consulting powerhouse, a process the Financial Times describes as “Byzantine and secretive” that comes “as the largest and most prestigious of the ‘big three’ management consultancies with 29k staff across 65 countries faces a growing backlash from its role in South Africa’s vast political scandal.”

The iPhone X is a hit with reviewers, many of whom appear to have declared it in mini-reviews to be Apple’s best-ever iPhone. We say “mini” reviews because just about every writer has made clear that s/he has had the gadget for only about 24 hours and will follow up with longer reviews over the coming weeks that take into account battery life and whatnot. Start with Matt Panzarino’s take for TechCrunch — he had it the longest and ran it through its paces in a real-life test at Disneyland with his kids, just as he did three years back to much acclaim. Then head over to BGR for its exhaustive roundup of reviews from around the interwebs or Apple Insider, which lists the handful of non-tech outlets that got early devices to review for their Youtube channels.

It’s the day after Halloween, so we’re late. And one of us is still doggedly sticking to this “get healthy” thing. But this recipe for peanut butter cups looks nothing short of amazing. It’s simple, it has no additives and comes down to the quality of the two ingredients: the chocolate and the peanut butter. Thank you, New York Times, for tempting us.

Happy November, ladies and gents. There are 60 days — or about 1,458 hours — left until the new year. Make ‘em count.

What We’re Tracking This Week

US President Donald Trump is expected to announce his choice for chair of the Federal Reserve board tomorrow. The frontrunner according to a number of media outlets appears to be Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell. Other candidates on his shortlist include current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Stanford University economist John Taylor, former Fed governor Kevin Warsh and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

On The Horizon

EFG Hermes will hold its 7th Annual London Conference on 6-9 November. The conference will see C-suite execs from top listed companies in MENA as well as frontier markets (among them Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) meet face-to-face with top global investors with mandates to invest in emerging and frontier markets. The event will take place at Emirates Arsenal Stadium in London.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The rescue of police Capt. Mohamed El Hayes, who had been kidnapped in the midst of last month’s terror attacks in El Wahat reigned supreme on the airwaves last night.

Kamal talked to Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil about the launch of the industrial investment map, which Kabil said took one year and 200 researchers to prepare. The map clearly lists the land plots and services available for industrial projects, as well as the manpower, skills, and raw materials required for each of these projects (watch, runtime 11:42). We have more in Speed Round, below.

Meat prices: Over on Yahduth fi Masr, Sherif Amer was more concerned with meat prices, which the head of the butchers’ division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Haitham Abdel Baset said have dropped only because consumers still have a surplus of meat since Eid Al Adha.

DRAMATIC RESCUE OF KIDNAPPED POLICE OFFICER: Kol Youm’s Amr Adib spoke to both parents of Capt. Mohamed El Hayes, each of whom said that their son’s rescue from the Western Desert was a “miracle” and that security forces have been following up with them since his kidnapping (watch, runtime 6:15) and (watch, runtime 6:58). El Hayes’ father also phoned in to Hona Al Asema to inform Lamees Al Hadidi that his son is undergoing surgery for an injury to his leg (watch, runtime 6:23).

Lamees spoke to Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council member Khaled Okasha, who said that the terrorists who had taken El Hayes were transporting him to Libya when security forces freed him. Okasha also said security forces have been running operations in the Western Desert since last month’s clashes (watch, runtime 7:20). Security expert Fouad Allam said El Hayes could serve as an important source of information on the inner workings of the terrorist groups who had launched the Wahat attack (watch, runtime 2:40).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Really, WBG? It’s like that? Egypt dropped six places in the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Doing Business report 2018 (pdf) to 128 out of 190, down from 122 in the 2017 report, and sandwiched between Cape Verde and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This comes despite the WBG issuing a glowing press release (pdf) on the improvements and reforms Egypt has made and, in a fit of nationalist pique, makes the WBG something less than our favourite institution this morning.

(Pictured above: Our staff’s collective reaction.)

Tub-tubs, but… “Egypt has carried out 29 reforms over the last 15 years, in comparison to Jordan (with 19 reforms), Tunisia (19) and Algeria (16),” the statement said. The WBG has recognized the Sisi administration’s effort in the past year to improve SME funding, protect minority interests, in addition to improving access to credit. Egypt’s highest score is in Dealing with Construction Permits, where it is ranked 66th globally. We also did well on Starting a Business, with the time and cost of starting a business having been more than halved to 14.5 days and 7.4% of income per capita, respectively.

“Egypt has made ambitious economic reforms over the past few years, which have helped boost investor confidence and attract foreign capital. This year, IFC, has tripled its investments in the country,” said the International Finance Corporation Country Manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen Walid Labadi. “There are signs that Egypt’s economic reforms are starting to bear fruit. For example, we are seeing an increase in capital flow into Egypt, especially in the energy and manufacturing sectors,” said Merza Hassan, Dean of the Executive Board and Executive Director World Bank Group.

So what did we wrong? The report shows that registering property was made more difficult. Egypt also underperformed in the areas of Paying Taxes, ranking at 167, and Trading Across Borders, where it ranks 170th globally. “It takes 265 hours to obtain the right paperwork to import, for example, four times longer than the global average of 66 hours,” the report said.

How did we fare in comparison to others? New Zealand remained the top-ranked country on the report, while Somalia retained the bottom spot. The US was ranked sixth. The UAE was highest ranked MENA country at 21. Saudi Arabia was ranked at 92.

The report doesn’t factor in reforms enacted after May 2017, which is when the WBG concluded its assessment, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr reminded everyone. Among those are the new Investment Act and its executive regulations, as well as reforms to the Companies Act, she said in a statement.

Looking towards next year, the government will work on procedural amendments to cut down the number of hours it takes to pay taxes to improve Egypt’s ranking in that area, Vice Minister of Finance Amr El Monayer said.

Egypt is now seeing a “‘broad-based,’ recovery across industries, a sign that reform measures such as floating the currency are starting to pay off even as inflation remains high,” Jihad Azour, head of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, told Bloomberg. “The reemergence of growth as we see it is broad-based; various sectors of the economy are benefiting from it including export, including tourism … Remittances are improving as well as other traditional sectors.” Azour says the Egyptian government’s plan is to capitalise on the improved competitiveness to make the economy more reliant on exports.

…Azour also endorsed the robot utopia of Neom, saying the Saudi project could benefitthe whole region, in a separate interview with Reuters. Neom could “stimulate trade and allow the Middle East to capitalise on its location as a bridge between Asia and Europe.” Azour added that Neom would also fit in with the One Belt One Road initiative and the G20 Compact with Africa that aims to promote private investment across the continent.

M&A WATCH- Saudi’s Elaj Group is on a tear. Fresh off its acquisition of 74% of clinical laboratory group Cairo Labs, the group has reportedly acquired a 15% stake in the International Eye Hospital, buying out a group of doctors’ stakes in the facility, sources tell Al Borsa. The value of the purchase was not disclosed, and the hospital’s chairman refused to confirm or deny the news. The Saudi group is reportedly looking to purchase two more hospitals and several medical laboratories in the coming period.

INVESTMENT WATCH- TCV closes second growth capital transaction in food additives provider Misr Food Investment: Egypt’s TCV (formerly Tanmiya Capital Ventures) announced in a release yesterday (pdf) that its mid-cap investment fund TCV1 has closed its second growth capital transaction in food additives provider Misr Food Investment. TCV announced it is bringing on industry veterans Omar Mandour and Ahmed Nazmy, each of whom have more than 20 years of experience in the FMCG space, “to complement the management team and spearhead the next stage in the company’s growth trajectory,” the statement says. Al Tamimi & Co. served as legal counsel and Grant Thornton ran financial due diligence for the transaction.

The push for renewables continues: Our friends at BPE Partners announced yesterday (pdf) that it reached financial close alongside Egypt’s Infinity Solar and Germany’s Ib Vogt gmbH on three solar power plants with a combined production capacity of 130 MW in Benban at a total cost of USD 190 mn. Both the EBRD and IFC were on board for the transaction, which covers projects under the second round of the feed-in tariff program. BPE signaled it has appetite for other opportunities in the sector, with Yehia Omar, head of renewable energy at the firm, noting that, “We envision this to be the start of a growing platform in this sector with Infinity Solar.” Tap here for our roundup yesterday of the flurry of news out of Benban.

It’s not just solar that’s in the spotlight: A consortium of Orascom Construction (OC), Engie, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation / Eurus Energy Holdings are developing a 250 MW wind farm with a total cost of around USD 400 mn in Ras Ghareb. The project will be developed on a BOO basis under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company. OC holds a 20% stake in the project, which is set to be financed by Japan Bank for International Cooperation in coordination with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Société Générale under a Nippon Export and Investment Insurance cover. The project is set to reach financial close by the end of 2017 end and construction to be completed 24 months after. Engie also announced the news in a press release that notes the company is also “looking to extend its energy services activities and its offer for sustainable cities, taking the opportunity of the Government’s ‘New Cairo’ and ‘New urban planning of Suez canal area’ programs.”

EFG Hermes Leasing has entered into a cooperation agreement with Philips Egypt to provide tailored leasing solutions for healthcare professionals in private practice, start-ups, SMEs, and hospitals. “Egypt’s growing population and low rates of insurance coverage have created opportunities for healthcare start-ups and expansion potential for existing players. The vendor cooperation program between EFG Hermes and Philips Egypt is a financial leasing solution to provide companies with value-added advisory services and tailored financing plans that will enable clients to acquire critical assets that meets their business goals and match global healthcare best-practises.”

Bavarian Automotive is going to invest EUR 3 mn in its Sixth of October plant to assemble BMW cars, Al Mal reports. The company is finishing feasibility studies on assembling BMW 5- and 7-series vehicles. Bavarian Automotive also noted that its plants are running at 45% capacity at the moment.

The Trade and Industry Ministry launched its investment map of some 4,136 projectsup for grabs in eight sectors at a conference on Tuesday. Most of the projects appear to be in equipment and engineering manufacturing with 1,265 projects, followed by chemical industries with 861 projects. The map is also promoting 649 food industry projects, 605 textile projects, 395 metallurgy investments, 183 pharma plants, 122 mining-related projects, and 56 leather and tannery works. SME-sized opportunities make up a whopping 92% of all industrial projects on the map, said minister Tarek Kabil at the launch ceremony, according AMAY. Attending the ceremony was Immigration Minister Nabila Makram who stated that both ministries will form a committee to promote industrial projects to Egyptian expatriates. Meanwhile, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said the “final touches” are being applied to her ministry’s investment map of some 600 projects. Last we had heard, the map will be ready by December and bidding on the projects will begin in January.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning advising citizens against visiting Egypt during the state of emergency, according to Ukrinform. "The security situation in Egypt remains complicated," the ministry’s Twitter statement reads. The warning comes as Egypt has ostensibly seen a spike in Ukrainian tourists visiting the country, with their numbers growing 120% y-o-y in the first eight months of 2017, according to earlier statements from Tourism Ministry officials. (Some in the industry have suggested that a good portion of the increase could be coming from Russian holidaymakers booking through Ukraine.)

Trend Micro says businesses are advised to understand the real threats that come along with being insufficiently prepared for a ransomware attack, following the publication of the results of its ransomware survey. Corporations need to provide readily available information to their employees on how to deal with these attacks to better safeguard data online. The MENA region also has a cybercriminal underworld that is not profit-driven like Russia’s or China’s, according to a separate report published by Trend Micro, but pushed more by a “spirit of sharing.” While the products and services that have become cybercriminal staples across the world are available in MENA, “ideology often influences what is sold and traded, motivating the kind of activities that transpire within its forums and sites. Many have dedicated sections espousing their beliefs, grouped with how-to guides on encryption, programming, and reverse engineering.” The full report, “Digital Souks,” can be downloaded here (pdf).

IPO WATCH- Emaar IPO could price at 10-20% premium: The upcoming listing of Emaar Properties’ UAE-based development arm could see the company offer shares at a 10-20% premium to the unit’s net asset value, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg. The move appears to accommodate the target aggregate dividend of USD 1.7 bn (to be paid over three years) from the offering, which constitutes 20% of the development business. The bidding window will open on 2 November.

Qatar and the US have agreed to enhance cooperation on counterterrorism “to crack down on illicit financing of militant groups,” a joint statement picked up by Reuters says. The agreement followed US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s stop in Doha on Monday, at the end of a week-long Middle East tour that took him to Saudi, the UAE, and Israel for anti-terror talks. “Qatar is keen to show it is cooperating on counterterrorism” in light of the accusations against it by the Saudi-led boycott bloc. Counterterrorism may prove to be a launching point to end the dispute, as both Qatar and Saudi have joined US efforts in the region. A resolution still seems far-off though, with Bahrain recently stepping up pressure by requiring entry visas for Qatari citizens, days after it called to suspend the statelet’s GCC membership. Bloomberg also has the story.

Eight people killed in suspected terror attack on Manhattan: Eight people were reported killed overnight after being run down by a pickup truck in Manhattan in what authorities have dubbed an act of terror, the New York Times reports. Sayfullo Saipov, 29, “smashed into a school bus, jumped out of his truck and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet gun and paintball gun and shouting ‘Allahu akbar…’ before he was shot in the abdomen by the officer.” Saipov, a greencard holder who came to the US from Uzbekistan in 2010, remains in critical condition but investigators discovered evidence in his truck linking him to Daesh.


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Image of the Day

Egyptian satirist Sherine Arafa embraced the spirit of Halloween by dressing as Sophia the Saudi Robot this year, according to the AP. The robot made headlines after it was awarded Saudi citizenship during a Riyadh conference last week. The internet was quick to note the robot probably has more rights than most Saudi women.

Egypt in the News

A number of stories popped up overnight in the foreign press on how Egyptians are fighting back against [redacted] harassment — sometimes literally. Relief Web shines a spotlight on Wen-Do self-defense classes set up the NGO Etijah with support from UNFPA and funding from Norway and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department. Wen-Do is a form of self-defense developed in the 1960s to help women fend off attackers. Al Arabiya is profiling StreetPal, an app that says it will call for help if a user is being harassed or feels threatened. The program, developed by Abdel Fattah Al Sharqawi, allows women to send a short text and e-mail to a trusted person to report harassment or reassure she is safe. There is also a map that leads women to the nearest police station and a legal guide on how to press charges. The app also allows women to record the incident to report the attacker.

Rights groups claim Egypt and Russia are trying to abolish Olympics policy that bans LGBTQ discrimination: A number of human rights groups are accusing Egypt and Russia of allegedly trying to kill a policy that forbids discrimination based on [redacted] orientation from the UN’s Olympic Truce Resolution, Daily Dot says. Advocacy group OutRight International claims that both government have sent the UN an ultimatum, threatening they will not sign the resolution — which is ratified every two years — until the article in question is axed.

Stolen antiques are flooding e-commerce websites and challenging law enforcement officials, the WSJ says (paywall). Archaeologically-rich countries like Egypt have also been targets, “but the growth of social networks and e-commerce platforms, coupled with the recent industrial-scale looting by [Daesh] across the Middle East, has brought a stream of stolen antiquities online,” EU and US investigators said.

Also worth noting in brief:

  • A planned gathering of international youth organized by the Egyptian government is being ridiculed on social media, the Associated Press reports.
  • Oxford Business Group published a recap of the IMF’s praise of Egyptian economic reforms during the fall meetings two weeks ago and prospects for further funding.
  • The North-West Mail is taking note of a 100ft, 150 tonne steel storage vessel that rolled out of the Bendalls Engineering plant in Cumbria, which, with a second 66-ton vessel, will be installed in a new BP gas refinery on the Nile Delta.
  • Egyptian feminist band Bnt Al Masarwa consider themselves not only the daughters of Egypt, but tell the stories of Egyptian women, Amira Salah Ahmed writes for Al-Monitor.

On Deadline

Now that the Investment Act has become law, the government needs to begin targeting investors in the specific sectors most in need, Abdel Fattah El Gebaly writes for Al Ahram. These investors should be provided with a comprehensive database of the projects available in their respective industries (akin to the investment map that should be released soon), as well as the resources and services they will have access to upon entering the market, El Gebaly suggests.

Worth Watching

There’s really no getting away from surveillance, but you’re still better covering up your webcam. Between CCTV, webcams, phone cameras, smart televisions, fridges, and lighting systems, George Orwell’s eerie predictions about surveillance have clearly come true. While there’s no getting around it, the good folks at Circuit breaker tell us we should at least try to keep the potential damage at minimum by following the examples of former FBI chief James Comey, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and countless others, who tape over their laptop webcams (Watch, runtime 3:51).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Lawmakers and forces controlling the eastern Libyan city of Derna have accused the Egyptian air force of conducting deadly airstrikes that left a dozen civilians dead, the Associated Press reports. The residents there believe the airstrikes were Egyptian because they “haven’t heard the usual noise of Libyan aircraft.” The UN Support Mission in Libya condemned the attacks saying that at least 12 children and women were among the dead in Derna, Reuters reports. Medical sources had put the total civilian casualties to at least 15 people.

Separately, Armed Forces spokesperson Tamer El Rifai issued a statement saying that the air force launched a raid in the Western Desert targeting the same group which took part in the El Wahat attack. El Rifai showcased aerial footage of the raid and listed its targets as vehicles belonging to the group. He also announced that the Armed Forces had also rescued a police conscript who had been missing since the attack and that he was currently being treated in a military hospital.

The news coincides with a State Information Services (SIS) announcement that BBC and Reuters agreed to amend their death toll figures from the Wahat attack to line up with the government’s. Both news outlets had reported a death toll of over 50 last week, citing unnamed sources, earning the ire of authorities, who put the death toll at 16.

N-Gage Consulting published a guide (PDF) on the Egypt-Mercosur preferential freetrade agreement. The report looks at the agreement itself, its provisions and key articles, as well as analysis on how relevant it is to Egypt.

Iran’s statements on Egypt’s role in the region are raising questions and concerns, Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said. Egypt has always seen regional stability as the cornerstone of its foreign policy and always called for respecting its neighbours’ rights and sovereignty. Abu Zeid’s remarks came after Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasim said that Egypt did not play its role in securing regional stability well enough, calling Cairo’s policies “wrong,” according to Al Arabiya.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his counterpart Niko Kotzias in Athens yesterday to discuss cooperation on regional security, as well as tripartite cooperation with Cyprus. Shoukry also discussed ongoing Palestinian national reconciliation efforts with counterpart Riad Malki, on the sidelines of a conference on religious and cultural pluralism in the Middle East taking place in Greece.

Capping off a busy day of diplomacy, Shoukry also talked bolstering ties with Baghdad in a phone call with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari.

EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn discussed increasing investments and business cooperation between Egypt and Europe in a meeting with the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, Ahram Gate reports.


Electricity Holding Company inks loan agreement with JICA

The Electricity Holding Company signed a JPY 10.7 bn (c. USD 94 mn) loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to fund power distribution development projects, sources tell Al Borsa. The first of three loan tranches will be disbursed next week and funds will be used to install remote-controlled operating systems at the Alexandria, North Delta, and North Cairo power distribution companies. The loan comes with a 30-year repayment period and 10-year grace period, at an interest rate of 0.01%.

GE complete work on connecting station

General Electric (GE) completed work on a transformer station that connects Badr City to the national grid,according to Al Borsa. The station carries a capacity of 500 KV and will contribute to the 1,300 km Egypt-Saudi interconnection project. The Badr station will eventually produce 1.5 GW, good for 50% of the city’s power needs.

Oil Ministry expects 4% annual increase in petroleum product consumption until FY2019-20

The Oil Ministry expects local consumption of petroleum products to increase to an annual 4% until FY2019-20, Al Shorouk reports. Consumption is forecasted to reach 7.76 mn tonnes during the upcoming fiscal year, up from 7.46 mn tonnes this year, and will reach approximately 8 mn tonnes in FY2019-20, according to the ministry. Meanwhile, Egypt’s petroleum production will reach 7.6 mn tonnes by FY2019-20. Separately, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said yesterday that Egypt is on track to pay off all arrears to international oil companies within two years if payments continue at the same rate, according to Reuters. El Molla had said back in August that arrears had fallen to USD 2.3 bn, the lowest it has been since 2013.

El Molla discusses cooperation with France on oil and gas projects

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla met yesterday with French Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Jacques De Lajugie, and France’s ambassador in Cairo Stéphane Romatet to discuss potential cooperation on oil and gas projects in Egypt, Al Shorouk reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Jordan agrees to lift ban on Egyptian potatoes

Jordan has lifted a ban on imports of Egyptian potatoes, the Agriculture Ministry said, according to Reuters. The ban was imposed more than a year ago over concerns of brown rot. Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE all agreed this month to lift bans on Egyptian agricultural imports, like lettuce and onions, that had been put in place due to concerns over pesticide residues. On a related note, Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim Al Banna confirmed yesterday that the government was gearing up to announce more stringent quality assurance measures for exporters and heftier fines and penalties for violations, Al Mal reports. The Trade and Industry Ministry had previously said it would be issuing new regulations to ensure the quality of exported Egyptian goods under a strategy designed to boost exports.


Cairo Cotton Group looks for foreign partner in new production line

Cairo Cotton Group is in negotiations with a foreign firm to partner in its new EGP 400 mn denim production line, the head of their subsidiary T&C Garments, Magdy Tolba, tells Al Borsa. The company wishes to carry 33.5% of the line’s cost, with the partner covering 66.5%. It aims to start production before the end of next year.

Automotive + Transportation

Transport Ministry considering different countries for supply of rail cars

The Transport Ministry is considering offers from different countries for the purchase of 1,000 new railway locomotives, Minister Hisham Arafat said,according to Al Borsa. Selection criteria are execution time, delivery rates, quality, cost, financing and if the cars use local parts. Italy, Hungary, China and Russia are all in the running to supply the locomotives, which are expected to cost the Egyptian National Railway c. EGP 16 bn.

Monorail connecting Cairo with administrative capital to be ready in 2020

Work on the monorail project to connect Cairo with the new administrative capital will begin next year, Transport Minister assistant Amr Shaat told Al Masry Al Youm. The monorail is set to be completed in 2020, he added.

Banking + Finance

EFSA eases restrictions on investment funds

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) ratified amendments to the executive regulations of the Capital Markets Act that govern investment funds, Al Borsa reports. Funds will now be allowed to settle up to 15% of their daily transactions on the EGX under the intraday trading system (T+0). Real estate funds with a capital of EGP 500 mn will now be allowed to invest up to 50% of the fund in a single real estate project. The ceiling had been set at 30% prior to the amendments, which also do away with regulations that limit a fund’s share in a non-listed real estate company to around 67%.

Other Business News of Note

India’s Bajaj to restructure state-owned cotton ginning companies

Indian automaker Bajaj was awarded a tender for the restructuring of state-owned cotton ginning companies, Public Enterprises Minister Ashraf El Sharkawy said yesterday, without revealing any details about the value or size of the agreement. The contracts will be signed next week, according to Al Borsa. US consultancy firm Warner had been tapped to review technical and financial offers submitted during the project’s bidding window.

Legislation + Policy

Prime Minister issues Media Act regs part 1

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued the executive regulations of the Media Act on Monday, Ahram Online reports citing state-owned MENA news agency. The regulations lay out the responsibilities and jurisdictions of the three media regulatory bodies: The Supreme Media Council, the National Press Authority, and the National Media Authority. As we noted yesterday, the House of Representatives began deliberations on the second part of the Media Act (the act had been split into two separate bills). While the first part establishes the regulators, the second outlines the rules and regulations for operating and working in media organizations.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Finance Ministry keeps customs rate unchanged.

The Ministry of Finance is keeping the customs exchange rate fixed at EGP 16 per greenback for the month of November,according to the ministry website. The unchanged rate is consistent with the ministry’s view on a stabilizing exchange rate.

M2 money supply jumps 39.7% y-o-y in September

Egypt’s M2 money supply jumped 39.72% y-o-y at the end of September to EGP 3.05 tn (USD 173.3 bn), central bank data showed on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

State Commissioners to investigate complaints raised against Tora’s Scorpion Prison

The State Commissioners Authority has reportedly agreed to begin investigating a complaint filed by local NGOs and the family of inmate at the Tora prison’s maximum security facility, according to Al Bawaba. A committee of medical and human rights experts are conducting research to determine whether or not the facility — known as the Scorpion Prison — is fit for human habitation. The committee’s final verdict is non-binding, however.

On Your Way Out

Kim Kardashian apparently can’t tell the difference between Arabic and Armenian: In a video posted on SnapChat and Instagram over the weekend, reality TV star Kim Kardashian mistakenly said she was celebrating her birthday “Armenian style” as the very Arabic — specifically Egyptian — birthday song was playing. We can independently confirm that this is definitely the soundtrack to every birthday party ever held at an Egyptian McDonald’s.

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1869, the Khedival Opera House in Cairo was dedicated, after being built on the orders of the Khedive Ismail to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. Verdi’s opera Rigoletto was the first opera performed at the opera house on that day. The building, which burned down in 1971, was designed by architects Pietro Avoscani and Rossi. In 1952, the US tested “Ivy Mike,” the first thermonuclear bomb, which carried the Teller-Ulam design, with its power resulting from an uncontrolled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. The Grand National Assembly, at the behest of Kemal Atatürk, voted to abolish the sultanate of Turkey and declare itself a republic on this day in 1922. Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook, born in 1960, celebrates his birthday today. Two years ago, authorities were downplaying the role the terrorists at Wilayit Sinai might have had with the Metrojet flight 9268 crash. Enterprise readers were reading reports of traders suggesting that the “drop” of the EGP to 18.00 to the greenback “might be overblown,” this time last year.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6049 | Sell 17.7041
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Tuesday): 14,342 (+1.0%)
Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (58% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +16.2%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 1.0%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 2.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Amer Group up 5.4%, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 5.2%, and Elsewedy Electric up 3.6%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Egyptian Resorts down 2.0%, AMOC down 1.8%, and EFG Hermes down 1.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.5 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +24.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +79.4 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -10.40 mn

Retail: 68.8% of total trades | 68.3% of buyers | 69.4% of sellers
Institutions: 31.2% of total trades | 31.7% of buyers | 30.6% of sellers

Foreign: 11.9% of total | 12.7% of buyers | 11.2% of sellers
Regional: 10.4% of total | 12.9% of buyers | 7.8% of sellers
Domestic: 77.7% of total | 74.4% of buyers | 81.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 54.56 (+0.51%)
Brent: USD 61.20 (+0.43%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.91 MMBtu (+0.31%, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,269.30 / troy ounce (-0.09%)TASI: 6,934.37 (-0.16%) (YTD: -3.83%)
ADX: 4,479.60 (+0.51%) (YTD: -1.47%)
DFM: 3,635.87 (+0.17%) (YTD: +2.97%)
KSE Weighted Index: 419.91 (-0.88%) (YTD: +10.48%)
QE: 8,165.06 (-0.38%) (YTD: -21.77%)
MSM: 5,010.66 (+0.57%) (YTD: -13.35%)
BB: 1,276.69 (+0.02%) (YTD: +4.61%)

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06-07 November (Monday-Tuesday): Crisis Communications Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

06-09 November (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference on 6-9 November, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

14 November (Tuesday): SEMED Business Forum: Investing for Sustainable Growth, Conrad Hotel, Cairo.

16 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

19-21 November (Sunday-Tuesday): 11th Annual INJAZ Young Entrepreneurs Competition, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

01 December (Friday): Prophet’s Birthday, national holiday.

01-03 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Solar-Tec, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Center.

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Center.

03-06 December (Sunday-Wednesday): 21st Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

07-09 December (Thursday-Saturday): The Africa 2017 forum: “Business for Africa, Egypt and the World” Conference, Sharm El Sheikh.

28 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

12-14 February 2018 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2018 (EGYPS), New Cairo Exhibition Center.

17-21 February 2018 (Saturday-Wednesday): Women For Success – Women SME’s "World of Possibilities" Conference, Cairo/Luxor.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.